My end-of-year top ten is also a beginning-of-year top ten, because the nightmare that was 2016 is bound to reverberate into 2017 as well. So read it and weep with laughter — for the future as well as the past.
10. To Putin With Love. As I’ve noticed over the years, American conservatives who once abjured the USSR as undemocratic now admire Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s manly, pec-popping brand of totalitarianism. This blew up big at year’s end when U.S. intelligence outlets confirmed Putin’s meddling in the 2016 election and rightbloggers, inspired by Putin’s simpatico with The Leader, rushed to defend the former Soviets from the President of the United States.
In a bizarre video tweet, the right-wing Heritage Foundation complained that Obama “blames Russia for ‘cyber operations aimed at our election’ ” and declared over thrilling music that “Vladimir Putin respects two things: Strength and consistency. In the last eight years, Obama has shown neither.” Step aside, sissy, let a real man rule the once-free world! When, in the midst of GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’sencomium to Mother Russia, his interviewer revealed she was a Soviet refugee, he responded, “Oh, well then that’s good, then the audience knows that you are biased.” (Imagine if Cold War liberals had said that to Cardinal Mindszenty!)
And The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher defended Putin on the religious grounds that he may be a brute but at least he uses his brutality on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church against godless Democrats like the kid his apparatchiks tried to put in prison for five years for playing Pokemon Go in a church (“is it really so difficult to see why social and religious conservatives in the West would look favorably in some respects on Vladimir Putin?”).
9. NeverTrump and the Marco Moment. Remember when many conservative writers (if not voters) were opposed to The Leader’s rise? When they pledged #NeverTrump and wrote stories like “Is Trump a Double Agent for the Left?” and National Review put out a whole “Against Trump” Special Issue? Now look at them: Even Jonah Goldberg, whom The Leader personally insulted, is backpedaling. Sad!
So much of their campaign panic is humorous in retrospect, but if we’re going to pick one moment to remember, let it be the “Marco Moment” — that brief space in February when, tired of the unlikable Ted Cruz, the brethren flocked to the standard of the callow part-time Florida Senator. “Marco’s Moment: Rubio Hits Trump for ‘Repeating Himself’ and Gets Wild Applause (VIDEO)” (PJ Media); “Stayin’ Alive: Marco’s Moment?” (Matt Lewis); “Marco’s Moment Is Now” (Weekly Standard), etc. Hopes ran high but, alas, in March Rubio lost his home state’s primary, his Moment passed, and by May rightbloggers had begun their long crawl to the foot of The Leader’s throne.
In 2017: In the manner of Henry Hyde, former NeverTrumpers will excuse their 2016 apostasy as a “youthful indiscretion,” at least until The Leader is impeached or flees prosecution to Moscow.
8. Hillary Clinton’s Long, Fatal Illness. It’s been a shock to see Clinton robustly hiking through the woods when just months ago, according to conservatives, she was at death’s door. The furor over her unsteadiness at a 9-11 ceremony during a bout of pneumonia (or so she said; conservatives insisted that was something for which you could not take her bare word, unlike The Leader’s tax returns) was only the most spectacular example.
The Drudge Report specialized in stories like “IS CLINTON HOLDING A WALKER?” But then Drudge and his enablers have been at this for years. Others claimed photos and video unremarkable to most observers revealed evidence of Parkinson’s Disease, “abnormal eye movements” indicative of “a problem with her left sixth cranial nerve,” an “alarming hole in her tongue, suggestive of a recent biopsy for HPV tongue-cancer,” etc. And if you really want to lose faith in the intelligence of your fellow man, Google “hillary clinton body double.”
In 2017: Congress will again call Clinton to the witness stand, this time charging election fraud because she claimed to be in good health during the campaign. She will be required to jump a pommel horse to get to her seat and Trey Gowdy will interrogate her on her interpretation of several ink blots.
7. Libertarians, for the usual reasons. Those wacky free-marketeers had another banner year. Not only did they, in what could have been a great opportunity for third parties, nominate a Presidential ticket that basically self-destructed, they also found new ways to express their contempt for democracy.
For example, when Uber and Lyft tried to muscle Austin, Texas into lifting restrictions on their businesses by threatening to leave, and the city’s voters rejected their crude ultimatum in a referendum, Reason’s Brain Doherty denounced the town’s “activist obsession with ‘level playing fields’ ” over the divine rights of corporations; Forbes’ John Kartsch lamented, “the local taxpayer cost of holding the special election was expected to be $500,000 but the city council pressed ahead anyway.” That’s good money that could have been used to bribe executives! “Local control is not a trump card that allows municipalities to restrict economic freedom,” declaimed Tom Giovanetti at the Institute for Policy Innovation. Get outta here with this “consent of the governed” bullshit — we’re talking about money!
And after The Leader’s election, Nick Gillespie of Reason and guests podcasted “The Case for Optimism About Trump’s Presidency.” The Reasonoids seemed chill that The Leader would “let Putin have what he wants in Eastern Europe,” but worried he might punk out and maintain the guaranteed issue part of Obamacare, which they called “price controls that prohibit insurance companies from charging actuarily fair premiums if people switch plans…kind of like rent control for health care!”
Throw in some of the usual wacky cultural analysis (“Sexy Panties and Prison: What Orange is the New Black Can Teach Us About The Regulatory State… as a libertarian, I must say that the way this story concluded in Season 4 provides a great parable for how regulation hurts people in the real world”) and these clown princes of conservatism easily preserve their place in the top 10 for another year.
In 2017: As The Leader enriches himself with his office, libertarians will celebrate it as a victory of business over government.
6. California Doesn’t Count, or The New Math. That Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost three million votes may be cold comfort for her, but for liberals it’s an encouraging reminder that voters preferred her to The Leader. Not so fast! cried conservatives — The Leader “Won Popular Vote if Liberal Bastions of California and New York Excluded!”
Those states’ votes, they told us, were urban and ethnic-tainted, and if we counted them it could lead to tyranny: “Ditching Electoral College Would Allow California to Impose Imperial Rule on a Colonial America,” cautioned Michael Barone. Imagine innocent prairie folk forced to eat Mexican food and recycle as Jerry Brown demands! Others created maps that showed Clinton’s votes clustered in highly populated areas, rather than in good old American prairies and hollers (“Donald Trump Won 7.5 Million Popular Vote Landslide in Heartland” — Breitbart.com), as further proof of their inauthenticity.
In 2017: Conservatives will demand legislation reweighting any vote from a Democratic state — perhaps, in honor of the Constitution they love so much, to three-fifths.
5. The War on Kellogg’s. Conservatives are always delighted with corporations in the abstract, but occasionally get mad at them when they do things they don’t like. No, I don’t mean things like polluting the environment or invading your privacy — only libtards care about that. I mean things like declining to advertise on Breitbart.com.
When the corn flake kings pulled their ad dollars under pressure from outraged customers, Breitbart declared war, running dozens of anti-Kellogg’s stories like “Watch: #DumpKelloggs Protester Blows Up Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts” and “Kellogg’s ‘Values’? Corn Flakes Invented to Curb Masturbation.”
Conservatives also were called to boycott Target (for letting trans people use their bathrooms), the new Star Wars movie (because they suddenly realized they were the villains), the NFL (because they don’t drag Colin Kaepernick to his feet when he genuflects), Pepsi, Oreos, Netflix, et alia.
In 2017: Expect an orchestrated boycott of Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Sheraton, et alia, as the competition they offer implies criticism of The Leader’s excellent hotels.
4. There Go Them Bundy Boys, Liberatin’ Federal Lands Agin! You’d think most citizens could agree that when a bunch of nuts with guns take over a federal facility, they should be promptly removed, tried, and sent away. Whoops, forgot, in this case they were white, so when the Bundy Boys and their co-nuts took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, claiming such facilities should be turned over to their private needs as God intended, conservatives turned into Pacino chanting “Attica!” in Dog Day Afternoon — just as they had in 2014 when Bundy patriarch Cliven made a similar claim on other federal lands.
A typically belligerent response was Kurt Schlichter‘s at The Federalist: He said that gay marriage and other such outrages proved there were “two sets of laws” in Obamaland and straight white people always get the shaft, so “this situation in Oregon is going to be repeated until they feel they are being heard.… Many of these guys are themselves ex-military,” etc. hint, hint; pew-pew.
In 2017: Since the Malheur gang was acquitted of all charges, expect them to be enlisted as a kind of Praetorian Guard for The Leader’s new hotels in the Grand Canyon and at other former national parks.
3. Plea-Bargaining Abortion. The Leader made some trouble for conservatives in March when he proposed (then retracted) jailing women for having abortions. Being new to political opinions on anything other than Obama’s birth certificate and his own greatness, he probably thought that was what the rubes wanted to hear — not realizing that, except for lunatics like Kevin D. Williamson of National Review, conservatives long ago cut a rhetorical deal whereby women were judged not responsible for their own abortions even if they marched up to the counter and barked, “One abortion, Doc, and make it snappy.”
As Charles Camosy explained at the New York Daily News, ladies are “coerced into having an abortion as a means of having social equality,” the poor things. “That pro-woman mentality is partly due to the understand [sic] that the abortion industry preys on women,” agreed Life News, “— selling them abortions by lying to them about the humanity of their unborn children and the destructive effects abortion will have.” And where are women going to learn any different? In church? Obama banned all those in 2008!
In 2017: The Leader will continue to support the recriminalization of abortion, but will stipulate that the rape exception has to be run by him first and if he thinks the chick is ugly she’s obviously lying.
2. Baby It’s Alt-Right Now. When Hillary Clinton made her speech against the alt-right (those rebranded neo-Nazis and white nationalists who swell The Leader’s ranks), conservatives got pissed at her — mainly because she was talking about racism and it’s an article of conservative faith that talking about racism is worse than racism, which doesn’t exist except when you mention it, like Candyman. (For example, explained the Federalist’s Rachel Lu, “liberals would much rather blame the ‘racist’ police than acknowledge the bitter fruits of the sexual revolution and the welfare state.”)
David Marcus, also at the Federalist, explained “How Anti-White Rhetoric Is Fueling White Nationalism”: Black people talking shit about whites in stories like “Dear White People: Here’s a List of Things We’d Wish You’d Stop Doing,” Marcus said, makes whites jumpy, which makes them maybe sorta racist, which is black people’s fault. The Hayride agreed: “Imagine if we had a ‘2017 Resolutions For Black Guys’ that included things like stop resisting police, stop committing crimes, and pull your pants up.” I dunno, that sounds like a typical David French column to me.
The Week’s Damon Linker scoffed at the idea that the “new nationalism” was racist, calling it instead “particularistic” — a “particularistic attachment,” he explained, could be “national, linguistic, religious, territorial, or” [pause for just-asking-questions shrug-and-moue] “ethnic.” Maybe Linker thought of simplifying this to “If you can say black power, how come we can’t say white power?” but couldn’t escape the nagging feeling he’d heard it somewhere before.
In 2017: The Leader’s Department of Justice Civil Rights Division will announce a big push against anti-white hate crimes, including making fun of the way whites talk, dance, or vote when terrified they’re becoming the minority.
1. Pussy-grabbing apologists. Boy, it seems like years since The Leader’s “Grab ’em by the pussy” tape came out and everyone was outraged. Even conservatives were outraged — that liberals would make such a big deal out of it, because liberals are into sex, which is basically the same as pussy-grabbing, at least so far as they knew.
“I see a crocodile tear rolling down a hypocritical leftist face,” sneered National Review’s David French, who listed some just-as-bad depravities of liberals, such as the lyrics of Beyoncé — “They don’t describe sexual assault,” admitted French, “but instead a quid pro quo-style sex relationship where she grants all kinds of favors to men she has sex with — the kind of relationship that women have forever rightly condemned as sexual harassment.” Where does she get off complaining about sexual assault!
And another thing, Hillary Clinton uses bad words, said Wesley Pruden at the Washington Times. “Nobody cultivates a dirtier mouth than Hillary Clinton,” he claimed. “Any teamster, cop, or Secret Service agent assigned to Hillary duty has to put his hands over his ears even to think about it.” The Leader, conversely, was just engaged in “cussin’ and dirty talk,” one of the privileges of manhood, like the right to be taken seriously despite an obvious lack of qualifications.
In 2017: To give his polls a boost when needed, The Leader will go back on Howard Stern and cheerfully describe groping the White House staff.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 2, 2017